London One North: Eton Manor forced to work hard for victory, but eventually see off Old Priorians

Eton Manor's Michael Byrne grabs a try against Old Priorians (pic: Martin Pearl).

Eton Manor's Michael Byrne grabs a try against Old Priorians (pic: Martin Pearl). - Credit: Archant

London One North: Eton Manor 39 Old Priorians 19

Eton Manor's Brad Burrell in action against Old Priorians (pic: Martin Pearl).

Eton Manor's Brad Burrell in action against Old Priorians (pic: Martin Pearl). - Credit: Archant

Eton Manor welcomed Old Priorians to the New Wilderness this week, keen to make amends for their poor performance in the corresponding fixture earlier in the season with both sides showing a number of changes from the earlier game.

Priorians kicked off the match and started much the better of the two sides, they kept the ball in hand and ran powerfully at Manors defence.

Although they couldn’t break through the defensive line they did pressurise Manor into giving away a number of penalties giving the visitors the first opportunity to open the scoring, but the attempt was missed.

Manor were still having difficulty in getting out of their own half, but their superiority at scrum time won them a penalty and the opportunity to attack inside their opponents half.

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As Manor got into the game Jack Emerson made a break before linking up with winger Ollie Phillips who took play into Priorians 22, here the forwards took on the charge only for a knock on to bring the attack to a halt.

For the scrum awarded to Priorians Manor drove their counterparts back and turned over possession allowing the ball to be fed along the backline.

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Here Rhys Davies-Horne joined in the attack from fullback and as he changed the direction of the attack he chipped the ball over the onrushing defensive line, caught his own kick, despite the attention of the Priorians fullback and raced over the line for Manors first score which was somewhat against the run of play.

Eton Manor's Rhys Davis-Horne on his way to scoring a try against Old Priorians (pic: Martin Pearl).

Eton Manor's Rhys Davis-Horne on his way to scoring a try against Old Priorians (pic: Martin Pearl). - Credit: Archant

Emerson was successful with the conversion from out wide, after 15 minutes Manor led 7–0. Priorians continued to attack Manor and again although Manors defence remained solid the penalty count was mounting.

This allowed Priorians to kick for attacking lineouts and from one of these they caught and drove the ball over the line for a well deserved score and with the conversion successful after 25 minutes the scores were tied at 7–7.

Manor hit back immediately when from the restart Harry Reid was fouled when challenging the kick off giving Manor a penalty from 35 meters out. Emerson put the ball between the posts to restore Manors lead 10–7.

Manor were now in the ascendency with Peter Bicknell proving hard to stop inside Priorians 22. When he was brought to ground Manors forwards drove the ball on but good defence stopped them from scoring but Manor were awarded a scrum eight meters out.

With Manor again dominant in the scrum they drove the Priorians pack backwards and after good control of the ball by Michael Byrne at number eight, he picked the ball up and drove over the line for Manors second try and although the conversion was missed Manor increased their lead to 15–7 after 30 minutes.

As the half drew to a close it was the visitors who were applying the pressure inside Manors 22 where they won an attacking lineout.

They again they won the thrown in and with good control and patience gradually drove the ball over the line for their second try. The conversion was missed but the ref blew for half time with Manor leading 15–12.

With Manor kicking off the second half it was again Priorians who started off the stronger of the two sides and they kept attacking Manor inside their 22. With Manor still being penalised Priorians were able to keep up the pressure through attacking lineouts.

With another throw in won Priorians moved the ball quickly along their backline but a cut out pass was intercepted by Rhys Davies-Horne and from inside his own 22 he set off upfield chased by the Priorians defenders.

Davies-Horne took play into Priorians and although he had the jogging Michael Eghan in support, he had enough pace to make it over the try line for an excellent individual try.

The conversion was missed but after 10 meters of the second half Manor had increased their lead to 20–12.

Manor were still making too many basic mistakes and giving away too many penalties which eventually lead to Frank Sullivan being yellow carded for yet another team offence.

Although Manor were a man down they began to dominate play, after winning a lineout inside Priorians half, a backs move orchestrated by Emerson found space for Phillips who had come in off his wing, he took the ball up the centre then out to the wing but couldn’t find the final potential try scoring pass and the ball was knocked on.

Priorians came back into the match and worked their way into Manors half where after winning ruck ball they moved the ball along their backline, but a misplaced pass bounced on the ground, Phillips was quickest to react, gathered the ball up and outpaced everyone to run in another Manor try from inside his own half. The conversion was again missed but after 20 minutes Manor led 25–12.

Manor were now back to full strength but were still not playing with any fluency and making too many mistakes. This kept Priorians in the game and taking advantage of some missed tackles by Manor they broke through Manors defence to score another seven point try closing the deficit to 25–19.

Manor pressed from the restart and at last managed to put together a series of attacking play and with play now inside Priorians 22, Emersion saw a gap down the blind side which he took before linking up with substitute winger Corrado Martelletti.

Martelletti took play close to the line before linking up with his forwards where Sullivan was stopped just short of the line but quick recycled ball was fed to the on charging Brad Burrell who despite the attempts of the defenders to stop him, drove the ball over the line for another Manor try.

The conversion from out wide was successful and Manor had now opened up a comfortable lead of 32 – 19 with a little over 5 minutes of the match left to play.

Manor continued to have the better of things as the game came to a conclusion and they launched one last attack inside Priorians 22.

Again Manors forwards drove towards the line but were denied by some resolute defence, so with the ball cleanly available Nick Horton sent a long pass out to the backline, but the pass didn’t reach it’s intended target, instead it reach the boot of Byrne who kicked the ball forwards a couple of meters and managed to gather the bouncing ball to dive over the line for Manors final score.

With the extra points added the ref blew for full time with Manor victorious 39–19. Manor achieved their objective of a bonus point win and have the Easter Weekend to rest before they face a strong Colchester side at the New Wilderness in two weeks time.

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